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OPINION OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE on the proposal for a Council Decision adapting Decision 94/268/Euratom concerning a framework programme of Community activities in the field of research and training for the European Atomic Energy (1994 to 1998) following the accession to the European Union of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden



Official Journal C 256 , 02/10/1995 P. 0012



Opinion on the proposal for a Council Decision adapting Decision 94/268/Euratom concerning a framework programme of Community activities in the field of research and training for the European Atomic Energy Community (1994 to 1998) following the accession to the European Union of the Republic of Austria, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden ()

(95/C 256/04)

On 2 June 1995 the Council decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee, under Article 198 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned proposals.

The Section for Energy, Nuclear Questions and Research, which was responsible for preparing the Committee's work on the subject, adopted its Opinion on 22 June 1995. The Rapporteur, working without study group, was Mr von der Decken.

At its 327th Plenary Session (meeting of 5 July 1995), the Economic and Social Committee adopted the following Opinion unanimously.

1. Introduction

1.1. The fourth RTD framework programme (1994-1998) was finally adopted on 26 April 1994 with a total initial budget of ECU 12 300 million. It took the form of two Decisions: the first concerns the fourth European Community framework programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities (1994-1998) (), the second the framework programme for Community research and training activities for the European Atomic Energy Community (1994-1998) (). The Committee gave its views on the Commission's proposals for the fourth framework programme on 25 November 1993 ().

1.2. In accordance with Article 130g of the Treaty establishing the European Community the framework programme provides for four areas of activity:

- implementation of research, technological development and demonstration programmes, by promoting cooperation with and between undertakings, research centres and universities;

- promotion of cooperation in the field of Community research, technological development and demonstration with third countries and international organizations;

- dissemination and optimization of the results of activities in Community research, technological development and demonstration;

- stimulation of the training and mobility of researchers in the Community.

1.3. In accordance with Article 130i(3) of the aforementioned Treaty these activities are to be implemented through specific programmes. Thus between 27 July and 8 December 1994 twenty specific programmes (on which the Committee was also consulted) were adopted under the framework programme (1994-1998) ().

1.4. The increase in the EU's financial resources resulting from the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden has enabled the budgetary authorities to decide on a 7% annual increase in the budget for the EU's internal policies, including RTD policy.

1.5. Article 130i(2) of the Treaty states that 'The framework programme shall be adapted or supplemented as the situation changes'. Hence the purpose of the draft Decisions under consideration is to adjust the appropriations allocated to the implementation of the fourth framework programme in line with this budget increase, taking into account also the proportional increase in R& D expenditure resulting from the participation of the three new Member States in the implementation of the specific programmes.

1.6. Specifically, the total amount of these appropriations will rise by 7%, from ECU 12 300 million to 13 161 million, of which 11 819 million instead of 11 046 million for the EC framework programme and 1 342 million instead of 1 254 million for the Euratom framework programme.

2. General comments

2.1. The Committee cannot but approve these proposals which merely implement, in the RTD sector, decisions already taken under the budgetary procedure.

2.2. The Committee notes that the proposed increase corresponds to the financial contribution which Austria, Finland and Sweden would have had to make to the Community research budget to participate in the EC framework programme as EEA members and in no way implies an increase in the overall research effort.

2.3. This adjustment is, however, all the more necessary as the Committee had expressed its keen disappointment over the - in its view wholly inadequate - budget initially allocated by the Council for the implementation of the framework programme (1994-1998).

2.4. Secondly, the Committee notes that because this increase is across the board, it does not affect research priorities established when the framework programme was adopted or the balance between the various specific programmes. Indeed this was never the Commission's intention.

2.4.1. Consequently it stresses that these proposals must not serve as a pretext for reopening a debate on this matter. Such a debate would undoubtedly delay their adoption and this could only be prejudicial to the implementation of the specific programmes and the continuity of the Community research effort.

2.5. In this connection the Committee would point out that under the Decisions on the framework programme (1994-1998), a possible extra ECU 700 million may be granted by 30 June 1996 at the latest for carrying out the framework programme, in the light of a review of its implementation to date.

2.5.1. These Decisions will be the subject of separate proposals on which the Committee will be consulted in due course. The present Opinion must in no way prejudge that future Opinion, especially as the Commission has already announced its intention of using the opportunity provided by these proposals to make some adjustments to the Community research effort, to redefine certain objectives and hence to review research priorities and procedures.

Done at Brussels, 5 July 1995.

The Chairman

of the Economic and Social Committee

Carlos FERRER

() OJ No C 142, 8. 6. 1995, pp. 16-18.

() OJ No L 126, 18. 5. 1994, p. 1.

() OJ No L 115, 6. 5. 1994, p. 31.

() OJ No C 34, 2. 2. 1994, p. 90.

() OJ No L 222, 26. 8. 1994; OJ No L 331, 21. 12. 1994; OJ No L 334, 22. 12. 1994; OJ No L 361, 31. 12. 1994.